The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is opening ¡Cuba! that will explore the extraordinary biodiversity across the Caribbean island’s remote forests, deep caves, expansive wetlands, and dazzling reefs through immersive exhibits that have been developed with colleagues at the Cuban National Museum of Natural History (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba, MNHN) as part of a formal Memorandum of Understanding signed in Havana this summer. The bilingual exhibition will also highlight Cuba’s culture, its people, and its history.
¡Cuba! will include live animals and specimens as well as artifacts and lifelike models representing the island nation’s distinctive wildlife—many species of which are found only on the island—from a venomous mammal to the world’s smallest bird. Highlights include a re-creation of Zapata wetlands—home to the endangered Cuban crocodile—and live lizards, boas, and frogs. In addition to focusing on biodiversity, the exhibition will showcase Cuban culture and life—including art, music, spiritual traditions, celebrations, food, and farming.A long, open boulevard evoking the street life one might find in a Cuban city will invite visitors to stroll, sit, and discover Cuban culture through music, dance performances, and a variety of interactive experiences. Other highlights include a re-creation of a throne used for orisha worship, an Afro-Cuban spiritual tradition known as Santeria; a gallery showcasing contemporary Cuban art; and a room revealing the craft of cultivating one of Cuba’s most famous crops, tobacco.
As a leader in science and conservation, the American Museum of Natural History has long-standing research and capacity development collaborations with Cuban scientists at a number of institutions, including the MNHN, the University of Havana, the Cuban Botanical Society, and the National Enterprise for the Protection of Flora and Fauna.Museum scientists have led nearly 30 expeditions and field projects to Cuba over the last 120 years.
¡Cuba!is co-curated by Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of AMNH’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, and Dr. Chris Raxworthy, curator-in-charge in the AMNH Department of Herpetology.
¡Cuba!will be open to the public from Monday, November 21, 2016, to August 13, 2017. Museum Members will be able to preview the exhibition on Friday, November 18, Saturday, November 19, and Sunday, November 20.
Major funding for ¡Cuba! has been provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Generous support for ¡Cuba! has been provided by the Dalio Ocean Initiative. The exhibit is sponsored by JetBlue and has received support from The Ford Foundation.
For more information, visit amnh.org.
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